The Clunker Debunker

Sure, if you have to have a new car, the timing is great. But in a highly disrupted auto market, used cars and leases can still deliver value

Joe Raedle / Getty

Chrysler's bankrupt, and Pontiac's going bye-bye. GM's on eBay, claims its Chevy Volt will get 230 m.p.g. and boasts that a $4,000 compact is in the works. Volkswagen is merging with Porsche. TV car guys with names like "Dealin' Doug" are screaming about incentives this and rebates that. And the government's porky cash-for-clunkers effort is ridin' herd on gas hogs.

So does that mean it's a good time to acquire a vehicle?

If you're not financially underwater, the answer is probably yes, according to industry experts and recession-whipped car sellers, who point to low-interest loan rates, government givebacks, manufacturer come-ons, desperate...

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